Day #6 (and Mark 6) of #DailyMark. In a chapter filled with miracles by Jesus, it seems odd to have the story of John the Baptist’s beheading inserted in the middle. In fact, if verses 14-29 were removed, the flow of the chapter would not be disrupted, so it seems.
Perhaps, though, the story is placed there as a reminder of the potential danger of following Jesus. In terms of the narrative flow, verses 14-29 serve as a parenthetical flashback. Even though John the Baptist was not the same as the other disciples (a chronological difference, not a spiritual one), his moral character was well established (note verse 20’s description of him as “righteous and holy”). And his more character had life-ending consequences.
Standing up for morality was (and still is) an act of cultural rebellion.
Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend, and we discussed the reality that being active and public followers of Jesus today causes us to be part of a minority movement in Canada (listen to this CBC interview where I was identified as a minority for the first time). Minorities are “different”; we are not necessarily popular and we are often misunderstood.
In terms of following Jesus, there is the added reality of living by what is often a different moral code than those around us. And sometimes that makes people uncomfortable.
Back to the story of John the Baptist. He and the early Christians were cultural rebels. Will you and I be the same kind of rebels today?